Bethany Cooksey is a former National Bible Bee contestant who is one of your 2022 Alumni Service Team members! Let’s get to know her a little better.
Home State: New Mexico
Nieces and Nephews: 7 (+1 on the way!)
First year of competing in the National Bible Bee (NBB): 2012
Final year of competing in the NBB: 2019
Favorite hobbies: Enjoys bookstores, picnics, music, spontaneous ice cream trips, and our goofy labradoodle. I was born in Japan, so I like cooking/eating Japanese food and other international foods. Spending time with family is my hands-down favorite, though!
Favorite book/passage of the Bible: I really like Psalm 21 (and the whole book of Psalms for that matter!). It’s such a sweet psalm of praise and trust in God, and a reminder that “every good and perfect gift is from above“ (James 1:17).
Favorite Bible character and why: I’ve always admired Abigail for being such a peacemaker and protecting her husband, even though he wasn’t a great guy. I want to be a friend that encourages others to do the right thing, and I want to always treat people well, even if they don’t seem to deserve it.
Q+A with Bethany:
Question: Welcome, Bethany! So tell us a little about yourself.
Answer: My name is Bethany Cooksey, I am 21 years old, and I currently live in New Mexico.
Q: Neat! What are some of the things you enjoy about New Mexico?
A: The sky and the mountains! We also get 310 days of sunshine a year, which is pretty cool.
Q: Nice. Anything else we should know about you?
A: I’m an extrovert, I like learning what other people are excited about, and I love a good pun. If you come to the National Bible Bee Competition (NBBC), come with a joke for me; I’d love to hear it!
Q: I love a good joke too! So besides serving on the Alumni Service Team, what else do you do?
A: I work at my church as the secretary for all things music, children, and students. It’s a great job!
Q: That’s wonderful to hear that you are involved with so many different ministries. How did you get involved with the National Bible Bee in the first place?
A: We met Olivia Davis and her family through a 4th of July party, and then they started an awesome Bible Bee host group at our church. By “awesome”, I mean better than Disneyland!
Q: Wow! It is amazing how good and fun it is to fellowship and invest time into God’s Word! And how long did you participate in the Bible Bee?
A: I competed in NBBC for 8 years, from when I was 11 to when I aged out.
Q: That’s a long time, but a very worthwhile investment. What would you say to someone who is doing the National Bible Bee for the first time?
A: Don’t give up and don’t let the fact that there are other, more seasoned participants in Bible Bee intimidate you into not trying. The year before I made it to the semifinal round, I passed on all of my passages at the NBBC, so there’s hope for everyone. And even if you don’t get really far in the competition, every minute spent in God’s Word is so worth it! I don’t regret the time I spent studying; in fact, I wish I spent more years in Bible Bee!
Q: That’s some quality advice there. You’ve participated for quite some time, so would you have a few tips for those who have been doing it for several years?
A: Bible Bee just keeps getting better every year, so stick around! This may be controversial, but I like the new division colors better than the old red, blue, and yellow… Another good reason to stick it out is your own personal progress! I progressed a lot over my years in the National Bible Bee, from struggling to memorize the summer passages, to reaching new goals at NBBC each year!
Q: That’s good. Any tips on how to stay motivated when someone is memorizing and studying so much?
A: I set Bible memory goals and try to have friends who are memorizing scripture, too! I’m also learning how to be okay with memorizing a little bit at a time so it fits better into my busy schedule.
Q: Yeah, that’s really good advice to have friends to be accountable to, but also to go along with you on the journey of memorizing Scripture. And joining a local host group is one of the best ways to find friends who are doing the same thing as you are. Any tips for everyone on memorization or reviewing verses?
A: Nothing beats reviewing by reciting to a family member or friend! If no one’s available, I’ll recite to myself, covering the words with a piece of paper, slowly revealing words as I recite by sliding the paper down. I like to memorize by reading the passage out loud over and over, as dramatic or imaginative as I can be!
Q: Those are some good tips! From just hearing what you’ve said here, you’ve spent a lot of time in God’s Word. Is there one profound truth that you’ve been able to learn during your time studying the Bible that you’d like to share with us?
A: I learned that God’s Word is truly powerful! I thought I knew this before the NBBC, but now I know from experience.
Q: Amen. Any last word to encourage someone who doesn’t memorize or study the Bible?
A: Psalm 1 talks about meditating on Scripture day and night and the kind of fruit you’ll produce if you do. Bible memory is a great way to meditate on scripture, and then you’ll have it in your head for future use.
Q: That’s so true. When you have God’s Word in your heart and mind, it transforms the way you think, and enables you to do what is good, right, and true. Thank you for your time!
Written by NBB Alumnus: William Saunders